Friday, February 21, 2014

Why I'm Not Trying Another Tri-A-Tri....for Now

It's been over four months since my last post. Not having a working computer until recently has been a huge reason for this. I miss writing. Maybe time to get back at it? I promise I won't aways write about triathlons but for now it's an easy topic as I multitask while watching our Canadian Olympic men's hockey team battle the Americans!

I know I said in my last post that I would be back this season to try and get under the hour mark in another try-a-tri. I am just slightly competitive and was looking forward to beating my first time, but I've since decided to let it go for now. My main reason last time was to try something that was really hard for me and would take a lot of dedication. I followed through and checked that off the list. But the truth is, training for three different sports takes a lot of time. One of my goals for 2014 is to be intentional about how I spend my time (another post on that one to come). Exercise is something that is important to me, but I only have so much time to dedicate to it and I want to focus on things I enjoy. I love to swim, I wouldn't mind being a runner someday and I enjoy bike rides. But consistent training in any of those sports doesn't top my list. When I was training last year, I completely neglected weight-training which I want to get back into. I've also recently taken up yoga which my body needs. I don't have the desire to dedicate five or six workouts a week to training properly and giving up the things I actually enjoy. Working out can be enough of a challenge, I might as well focus on the things I love and that help my body.

Goals are good. I make them often. I would definitely like to reach my "under an hour" try-a-tri goal in the future but for now I'm putting it on hold and I feel good about it. I will be proud of my one hour and seven seconds in the triathlon world and cheer on my family and friends who want to stick around. We can say goodbye to this topic for awhile ;)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Race Report: My First Try-A-Tri

Over a month late, but wanted to have a record of how my first Try-a-Tri race went at the end of the summer.

I first went to the transition area to drop off my bike. It's basically long metal bars that you perch your bike on from the seat and where you place all of your gear to transition from each leg. Registration was pretty easy and a good distraction from the nerves. A volunteer put my race number in permanent marker on my arm and my age on my calf. I asked him if he had neat printing but he just laughed. I wanted it to look good! I went back to set up the rest of my transition area, trying to play through each part in my head and what I'd need, when. Late nights of watching transition videos on Youtube gave me a few good tips. I found J and the boys and eventually my brother-in-laws who were also doing it as well. As the race got closer we all gathered by the lake and the nerves kicked into high gear. Getting into a wet suit is no easy task. A lot of people had them but it probably wasn't necessary. I was counting on it help me with buoyancy and a friend had kindly lent it to me. The race started in waves by age group, three minutes apart. The time was approaching quickly as we waited on the beach.

The Swim
This is the part I trained for the most but was the most nervous about. I LOVE the water but have never been a strong swimmer. Many people told me to wait for most people to go first so I wasn't in a huge pack, but even after doing that, there were plenty of people around me to bump into. Let's just say swimming in your own lane in a beautiful pool with lane lines is nothing like swimming in a lake with a wet suit in crowded water. I knew that going in and my main goal was not to panic and bail. I felt like I was pretty slow and it wasn't pretty. My strokes were nothing like in the pool. I ended up doing some weird one-legged breast stroke for much of the way and even flipped on my back a few times, the true sign of a rookie. The hardest part mentally was when people from the next wave started passing me. Swimming around the last buoy I could see the beach and people starting to reach land so I just told myself I wasn't going to die and kept going. I was actually really happy with my time, all things considered.

Transition 1 (T1)
To get from the beach to the transition area required running up a huge hill which was tough. I ended up walking near the end. I got the wetsuit down to my waist fairly quickly and had learned a trick to get my swim cap and goggles into one of the sleeves. Getting the rest of the wetsuit off wasn't too tough and my main goal was to dry off enough. I had another friend tell me that she was so wet her shoes and socks were soaked which made for a difficult run.I had tri-shorts (also lent from a friend!) and a sports bra under my wetsuit so basically needed to get on a shirt, race belt with my number, socks, shoes and helmet. I put elastic laces in my shoes to make it easier. I felt good about the transition and was ready for the bike. I ran right past J but he didn't see me and I realized he was looking where I had first parked my bike...forgot to tell him I had moved.

The Bike
Once we got out of the conservation area the bike course was a straight out and back with a few hills. I had an upright hybrid bike so I knew I'd be at a disadvantage to the majority of people on road bikes. This was by far the most enjoyable leg. I went as fast as I could and enjoyed watching the people coming the other direction. Having our ages written on our calves proved to be a nice distraction as I thought, "Huh. That lady passing me is in her forties and started three minutes behind me. Way to go lady!" The ride seemed to take awhile but I was able to calm down, catch my breath and realize I was actually doing this!

This one was fairly simple. All I really had to do was park my bike, take off my helmet and put on my running hat. Having no cycling shoes has it's advantages I guess. 

The Run
All of my boys were there to cheer me on as I started my run which was a nice encouragement. I'm not sure if I'd say the swim or run was more challenging but it was definitely difficult. I had done a decent job in my running training and done my brick workouts (running after biking) but I was pretty tired at this point. And to my surprise the course was very hilly. I walked for a lot of it but luckily most people around me were in the same boat. I saw both of my brother-in-laws on their way back and we exchanged high-fives. I was feeling pretty discouraged at how hard it was to run after all my training so that was a nice pick-me-up. I finally made it up the last hill headed down towards the finish line and of course I had to run for that part. My boys, other family and friends were there to cheer me on my last few steps. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see the clock at 1 hour and 3 minutes as I crossed the finish line, and later even happier to realize three minutes were shaved off to account for the second wave start.

Overall I found my first try-a-tri super challenging. There are so many things for us rookies to learn. I remember thinking on the run, "Well I guess this is the last time I'll be doing this" but my finally time was 1 hour 7.9 seconds. I was the first person in the race to hit the hour mark and now the competitor in me wants to get under an hour. I'm hoping that won't be hard with one race under my belt. After seeing my photos, a friend from high school gave me her old tri bike which was extremely generous of her. I've gotten it tuned up and bought some cycling shoes to start spinning, but have yet to try it out. It's a whole different world than my comfortable upright hybrid, and definitely a faster one! It feels good to accomplish a goal that took up the better part of a year to work towards. Hard work aside, racing really is a lot of fun! I think I'll be back for more next season.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Why I'm Trying a Try-A-Tri

In five days I'll be trying my first, "Try-a-Tri" which is basically a mini triathlon. I'm feeling pretty nervous but also pretty excited to attempt this challenge. I was first introduced to the idea a few years ago by a friend who had tried one out and I thought, "I wonder if I could do that?" For any sort of endurance athlete the distances are embarrassingly short, but for this endurance-challenged girl it would sure be a challenge. So here's why I've decided to do it...

1. A Fitness Goal

Staying in shape has always been important to me, and since our new gym opened a year and a half ago I've been back on the workout train fairly consistently. But aside from weight gain prevention I didn't really have any goals. I was in the same cardio and weight routine and was getting bored. Triathlons involve swimming, biking and running so this was a good chance to mix it up. For running I decided to use a Couch to 5K app on my phone. I have always been a terrible runner in any distance farther than about 100 metres. Kind of limiting. In June I did a 5K race where I ran 5 minutes and walked one. Now I can run about 4K without stopping. For most runners that's a warm-up but for me that's a big deal. For swimming I decided to enroll in the Masters program at the gym (see my previous post on that) which I did for 5 weeks. It was humbling as I was by far the slowest and worst swimmer but everyone was so kind and encouraging and I do think it helped build my stamina. It's definitely something I will continue if I get addicted to this! And biking... well biking I haven't trained much for to be honest. I have no trouble biking 10K but I'm just slow at it, largely because I don't have a road bike. But I'm not making that huge investment for a small race like this, so slow I will be! For most of my training I've had to wake up early and although I'm still a night owl at heart and still love my sleep ins, it's ironic that the summer months are when I actually became the morning person I've always wanted!  I haven't lost any weight, in fact I've gained a few pounds (muscle I hope?) but no doubt, at least endurance-wise I'm in the best shape I've been in.

2. Follow Through

I've been thinking about doing this race for a few years and back in January I had decided that this was going to be the year. I found a race in June I wanted to do and started training. But then my cousin decided to get married that day so the race was off the table and I stopped training. It was my out. I admittedly have a problem with follow-through in certain areas of life. I can't tell you how many volunteer information meetings I've been to that I never led to volunteering. I'm also great at making grandiose plans for myself that never become more than just plans. I knew there were other races later in the summer, and while I talked about it a lot, I never signed up...until a month or so ago. I had been training half-heartedly "just in case" until then but getting the credit card out was the kick in the pants I needed.

3. Practicing Doing Hard Things

This may sound like a weird one. Life is hard enough right? Heck, I have twin toddlers! But relatively speaking I've had a pretty cushy life. I've been realizing more and more how selfish I can be and that I am addicted to comfort. There are some potentially opportunities in the future that I could take and the one main reason that would hold me back is that they are HARD. But hard doesn't mean bad and we all know it's often those challenging things that help us grow into better people. And some hard things just need to get done. Doing a Try-A-Tri is just on a much smaller scale but the principle is the same. All three of the sports are difficult for me. Getting up early is not my natural instinct. The competitor in me doesn't like to do things that I obviously won't excel at. But as minor as they are in the grand scheme of life, they've become a discipline for me, moving me in the right direction away from the easy and the comfortable.

J and I were watching the Ironman World Championships from last year on TV last night. For those of you who don't know what an Ironman is, it's a crazy long triathlon. The run itself is a full marathon and generally takes people all day to complete. But as we watched people cross the finish line I got emotional as the announcer told each of them, "You are an Ironman!", a goal they had likely put countless hours of blood, sweat and tears towards. We joked that hopefully someone will announce to me, "Congratulations, you have tried a tri" as I cross the finish line on Saturday.

My goals are simple: Cross the finish line, don't be last and be proud of myself despite how it goes. It will be hard. Despite my training I have never done all three sports together in the distances I will do them for the race. I'm hoping my good friend adrenaline and some cheers from family and friends help me out! People tell me this is a very addicting sport. I'm curious if I'll want to do more after this or if I'll pat myself on the back and be thankful it's over forever. I guess the answer is only a few days away!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Conquering Fears

This morning my alarm went off at 5:45am (I generally vow not to get up before the 6am mark so this was big!) and rolled out of bed to face my fears. I have always loved water and swimming but have never been the greatest at it. Somehow I managed to become a lifeguard and swimming instructor for the sole purpose of obtaining my camp dream job of waterfront director. Some of the levels to get there required swimming many laps in a certain amount of time and I always struggled. Endurance has never been my strong point, in any sport. For Bronze Cross I wasn't able to finish the laps in the required time but may have lied to my instructor that I did it at the pool another time. Okay, I did lied and thus my whole lifeguarding career was probably a fraud. Not a highlight for me. But I assure you, I knew how to save a life.

Our gym has beautiful lap pools both indoors and out, so I've been working a lot on my swimming the last year or so. I took four lessons a few months ago to work on my strokes and have done hundreds of laps but knew I needed a boost to kick up my endurance. So this morning I joined the Masters swimming program at the gym. Don't let the name fool you. The requirement was that you can swim two laps well, which I can but there are some great swimmers that train and go to swim meets. For some reason I have been terrified to join this group. It might have to do with the fact that my ONE day on the high school swim team, I kept getting moved further and further down the pool for being slow, until I was finally at the end, and never came back.

When I arrived in my 6:30am sleepiness, I introduced myself to the coach, told her I was a beginner and off I went, in the slowest lane of course. All the lengths today were to be done in the butterfly stroke, the hardest one of all. She modified it for me and let me do what I wanted, thank goodness. The warm-up itself was at least 20 laps, generally more than I swim at once. While everyone was done their sets I was still going, kicking and pulling my way through but determined to finish. Overall, it was tiring but a very positive experience and I actually think I might get better. I signed up for four weeks so will be back at it in two days. It feels good to do something that I was fearful of, and although it's just swimming, hopeful it will transfer to the more important things in life.

Friday, June 28, 2013

I'm Back!

Logging back into my blog today it was hard to believe I've only written four posts since the year began. I plan on changing that soon. Summer has officially begun a slower pace of life is upon us, including more time to write. I have lots on my mind as I always seem to. So, stay tuned what's been going on in my head the past several months.

And if you are reading this via Google Reader, remember that it will be no more as of July 1st. I switched to Feedly which was really simple and easy to do and seems to have some good apps as well. I'll be back with more next week. Happy long weekend!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's Hard

Sometimes I feel bad or guilty writing posts like my previous one. I don't like to sound like I'm complaining, and after all it's just naps right? My problems are nothing compared to the rest of the world.

But the truth is, parenting is hard and something as simple as naps has led me to tears more than once, as have many other issues. It is hard not knowing what to do, hard to feel like you've lost control and your two year-olds are have somehow become in charge, hard when you make mistakes and feel like you're not loving your children the best way you can, hard when you let your ugly sides come out and then wonder how that happened.

Then I read this excerpt from the book, Carry On Warrior. If you're a parent, or know someone who is, take a minute to read it.

What a refreshing read. I am well aware of how fast time is going. I no longer wish for weekends but they always seem to be here and my children are growing up right before my eyes. I still feel like I'm 18 but it won't be too long before I'm double that. Crazy. And I have had many people tell me recently to enjoy this wonderful stage. But the truth is, the last few months especially have been pretty challenging as a mom. My days have been exhausting physically and emotionally and my favourite time of the day is definitely bed time. It is no surprise considering the age of my boys, but it's still my reality. There area  lot of tough moments.

I am continuing to learn how to live a life of gratitude. To be intentional about taking time to thank God for the beauty around me, including in my children. To try to slow down time by being fully present in the moment. I have seen a lot of beautiful moments lately, some that might have otherwise passed me by.

But that doesn't mean that I can't admit it's hard. It doesn't mean that venting my frustrations means I'm being ungrateful (which I think I've subconsciously been believing). Parenting seems to be about moments. One moment they are singing a beautiful song and being kind to their brother, the next they are flopping on the floor because you gave them the wrong cracker. Some times the hard moments outweigh the good ones in a day, making it a tough one. That's okay. I need to give myself permission to feel like today was a bad day and that I'm just finding it all incredibly difficult sometimes. I don't always need solutions. Sometimes there aren't even any. Just someone to say, "I understand. It's hard. You're doing a good job even though you don't feel like it. Hang in there."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Twins in Toddler Beds

I am still alive, just hadn't had the energy or desire to blog much lately. I wouldn't say it's been the easiest month or two but I'm alive and have much to be grateful for. This post won't relate to many of you (feel free to skip it...I won't be offended :), but I wanted to give it the title I did because of one of our current struggles. I know I've done a lot of googling and at the very least I discovered from other twin moms I'm not alone, so perhaps this post will do the same for someone else. I have lots of deeper more important things going on in my brain right now but no mental energy to form them into a somewhat articulate post.

We've been struggling a lot with naps lately. The boys get so worked up and feed off each other, to the point that they were going to town on their room. We had a childproof handle on their door so they couldn't get out. We decided to give them some freedom with a new approach...basically when they got out of bed, we'd talk to them twice, then every time after that we'd say nothing and just put them back to bed, being calm and gentle. Talking with them wasn't working anyway so I thought I'd try the firm and consistent approach.

Well let's just say it hasn't all! When they started escaping their room they found it hilarious and of course while I was putting one back, the other would make a run for it. I'd be chasing them downstairs, in the corners of closets and in our bed. They thought it was a hilarious game, enjoying every second of it. It has been exhausting. Imagine lifting two thirty pound weights, about three times a minute for well over an hour. Eventually one would calm down but the other would still be going, then the first would get bored just lying there (although clearly needing to sleep) and would be back at it.

A lot of people have said that maybe they just don't need to nap any more. Trust me, they do. They are clearly tired and grumpy after. I have little patience because I've had a massive workout that has done little good and I haven't gotten the break from my kids in the day that I find so important. Even when napping is done, I'm a big believer in quiet time, where they can do something in their room. And I don't believe in kids running the show, so if mommy says it's time to stay in your room, then it's time....keeping in mind that they are two, but now is the time to start establishing that.

I really do believe the technique can actually work for a lot of kids. But I think it's a whole new ball game with twins. Even if I'm not giving them positive attention, they have each other to egg each other on and syphon energy off of. If I didn't have one escaping while dealing with the other, I'm pretty sure I would have seen success right now.

It has been hard not having that time to myself in the middle of the day, not just for the mental break but to get the everyday things of life done. And to be totally honest, I don't like not knowing what to do. So now we have to figure out a new approach. We're thinking of either trying to put them down a little later so they are more tired, putting the childproof handle back on, or just calling it "quiet time" where they can have some books and stuffed animals and will hopefully fall asleep.

If anyone has ANY advice, please send it my way. I know in a few years none of this will matter and I'm sure another phase is around the corner, but this one has been tough. This mommy REALLY wants her nap time back. I think anyone with two toddler boys would say the same! :)